Of the four playoff teams, only one isn't in the top four of the rankings and might be the first team to bow out when the postseason arrives.
Here they are:
1. FC Gold Pride - Another dominating performance against a playoff-bound team to end the regular season. It's been 14 games since its last lost. If they extend that streak one more game, they will be WPS champions. (previous: 1)
2. Boston Breakers - The Breakers bounced back from a disheartening loss to Gold Pride with a scoreless draw at Sky Blue FC. Despite not scoring in two games, Boston enters the playoffs as the second seed. (2)
3. Washington Freedom - Jim Gabarra's club has maintained a strong level of play since its 11 game winless streak. They enter the post season coming off a highly-emotional and physical 1-0 last-minute win that catapulted them to the postseason. (3)
4. Sky Blue FC - The defending champs didn't make the playoffs, but they were one of the tougher teams to beat at season's end. They ended 2010 with three draws, but fell short. Injuries really hurt them this season. (4)
5. Philadelphia Independence - Sure the expansion Independence will be in the post season, hosting Washington on Sept. 19, but they enter on a four-game losing streak. It may be a quick exit for them. (5)
6. Chicago Red Stars - Red Stars had the final WPS weekend off, but they showed real grit playing hard through their season as the spoiler. Next season might be a breakout year for Omid Namazi's club. (6)
7. Atlanta Beat - They have the roster, but will the Beat have the right guidance in 2011 to succeed? Interim coach James Galanis got them to play hard, but the results weren't there. (7)
Goal.com contributor Giovanni Albanese Jr. covers FC Gold Pride for Tri-City Voice newspaper in Fremont, Calif. You can follow him on Twitter @GAlbaneseJr.
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